This is in line with the UAE’s vision on enhancing the region’s technical development. Both the academy’s distinctive management and its solid infrastructure contribute to quickly adapting to this system
Within its strategic vision to be the world leader in maritime education, the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport in Sharjah “AASTS” was able to successfully implement the e-learning system for the College of Maritime Transport Technology. The interactive online platform contributes to achieving a set of goals. AASTS’ interactive academic electronic platform contributes to opening the door for everyone to continue learning as well as making use of qualified staff and modern technologies in the educational process. Faculty members were trained on giving e-lectures as well as providing the necessary support to students.
In this regard, Dr. Ismail Abdel Ghaffar Ismail Farag, President of the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, highlighted:
“Our initiative for implementing distance learning comes within our social responsibility and that should be our key inspiration heading to post-pandemic phase. This will safeguard all the achievements made since the beginning of the crisis, mitigate all risks and pursue the path of sustainable development in various sectors once the pandemic is over. The UAE Government has also dealt with the crisis with ultimate efficiency as everyone is keen to perform their role in the best way possible. Accordingly, we have strengthened our e-learning channels to maintain the highest education standards. We have intensified all our efforts and completed our preparations to implement the e-learning system within a short period, for the safety of our students and faculty members in line with the instructions to further prevent the dangers of COVID-19.”
He further added, “Our students benefit from the new system in terms of providing theoretical and applied lectures and laboratories via electronic platforms and customized programs, providing electronic learning resources in addition developing educational materials. A well-qualified technical support team was allocated to provide all required solutions and support. I’d like to highly emphasize on the vital role played by parents in providing the appropriate educational environment which enabled our students to focus on their studies in a manner that ensures the success of our e-learning. This presents a new stage in the development of the educational system.”
Ensuring the efficiency e-learning process
Imperatively, Dr. Hisham Afifi, Advisor to the President of the Academy and in charge of Khorfakkan’s branch, emphasized, ” We aspire to be one of the most significant pillars in building an integrated strategy that reinforces new economic capabilities in the UAE and the entire region. This will contribute to research and development and prepare technical and administrative studies to help companies achieve further growth and expansion in product quality and business profitability. The education sector comes as the main supporter of this initiative, especially in the maritime field, which is one of the most important pillars of the country’s future sustainable economy. Capitalizing on the strategic location of the UAE at the heart of global trade routes, in addition to the UAE’s advanced marine infrastructure, the country is ranked as one of the best global maritime hubs according to many international reports.”
He explained, “Therefore, AASTS is always prepared to face any challenges that may affect the continuity of education. Our e-learning platform introduces the curriculum to all students in an interactive way that reflects day-day college study. Although students are present in their homes, they will be given opportunities for quality and appropriate education through our platform that approved by the UAE Ministry of Education, which provides educational content in an integrated manner, and supports alternative solutions for the continuity of the educational process.”
Quality and interactive educational programs
Dr. Ahmed Youssef, Associate Dean of Maritime Transport Technology College, AASTS said, “ Since the beginning of the current emergency, we have properly communicated with all our students and their parents, and we have also sent informative guidelines on implementing our new platform in the context of emphasizing our efforts to ensure safety of our students and guaranteeing that they are ready to start using the new system. We also stressed on the need to attend the online lectures at the scheduled time and on a daily basis, so that students can participate with their colleagues and professors in proper discussions through an interactive electronic environment that ensures the highest levels of equality. In addition to the convenient office hours to address any questions immediately after the end of each lecture. In the event that the student is unable to attend the lecture on time, the full content will be uploaded in our online platform under the students’ training courses section. We also intend to send hard copies of essential academic books to the main assigned distribution points.”
He also added, “The Academy’s e-learning programs are designed to conduct practical classes effectively and efficiently such as Chart Work for Coastal Navigation, Celestial Navigation, ship Construction and Naval Architecture, Marine Safety, Marine Engineering and Seaman Ship. Final exams were conducted remotely using advanced monitoring techniques to ensure integrity and transparency.”
The Academy offers two specialisations: Maritime Transport Technology, which has two disciplines; port operations and offshore operations. The major will qualify graduates with a bachelor degree and a second mate certificate of competency. The Marine Engineering Technology will qualify students with a bachelor degree and third engineer certificate of competency. Both disciplines qualify graduates to work on commercial ships and offshore vessels.